Unexpected influx of Sargassum invades San Pedro beaches
Thursday, August 25th, 2022
On Wednesday, August 24th, residents on Ambergris Caye were surprised to see the beaches full of Sargassum. The previous day the shoreline appeared free of the brown algae; just hours later, the beaches were choked with the brown seaweed, with more expected in the coming days.
A report by the National Meteorological Service of Belize on Wednesday indicates there is a chance that more Sargassum mats could affect beaches across the country during the next few days.
According to reports, there is a forecast of about 32,000 tons floating on the Caribbean Sea and moving west. Authorities of different countries, such as Mexico, continue to look at ways to prevent these mats from reaching the beaches or to collect them from the shores as soon as possible.
The source of the Sargassum
The ongoing flow of mats is being identified to originate from the Sargassum Sea, in the Bermuda Triangle, and a new area off the coast of Brazil. The vast amount of sargassum beaching the shoreline is reportedly an indicator of pollution caused by human activity on the seas and Caribbean coasts. This type of pollution is related to inadequate treatment of sewage and grey water.
The Sargassum problem is a regional phenomenon affecting several, if not all, countries in the Caribbean Region, the coast of the Mexican State of Quintana Roo, and the Florida coast in the United States. Some measures to control the seaweed influx are used in the construction industry. Sargassum has been used in preparing blocks/bricks for the construction of homes. Many environmentalists have considered this method ecologically friendly and economically.
It has been reported by those involved in this practice in Mexico that to build approximately 40 square meters, 20 tons of Sargassum are used. This is equivalent to about 2,150 bricks made of Sargassum. The buildings out of Sargassum material are expected to last longer and will be sustainable and ecological.
The idea to construct homes in San Pedro from Sargassum was presented in May 2019 by Mexican entrepreneur Omar Vasquez Sanchez. However, the project was never implemented on the island.
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